SHE’S already being touted in certain quarters of the music press as the first big thing of 2022. which seems quite an epithet to carry given we’re not even there yet; but on the strength of LA bedroom pop songwriter Alyssa Gengos’ second single “Gothenburg English”, out now, you’d be a foolish man to bet against it.
Alyssa has been making records with her laptop for years now under the name Kythira – “I feel most comfortable when I’m completely alone” she says – but she’s inked a proper deal-type situation with Richmond, Virginia’s Egghunt Records, already home to Lizzie Loveless, Sara Bug and others – a good place for a female auteur to be.
“Gothenburg English”, her second single, which you can watch the video for below: well, it’s bloody sweet. Airy, breathy, proceeding on a simple synth figure and just gliding into a guitar chorus so melodic and lovely you actually can’t believe you haven’t loved this song for years already, have been putting it on compilation tapes for everyone.
Alyssa explains both the song and the video: “I began writing ‘Gothenburg English’ in my head while walking around the titular city near the end of my Scandinavian sojourn.
“Six months prior, I’d left a long-term partner behind in New York City, hoping the relationship would survive. It did not. I finally accepted the end of it while wandering around Gothenburg and the Delsjö wilderness on the outskirts of the city.
“A friend told me the local accent is one of the most sing-songy in the Swedish language, and it’s audible when speaking English, too, creating a kind of Gothenburg English.
“I think of this song as a road song in the sense of American road novels and movies. I sing about my travels during this time, and admit the realization that I came to once I returned home: I was ready to move on from the relationship that had brought me so much stress and misery.
“I eventually left New York for my home of Los Angeles, where I filmed the music video for this song with the help of some of my oldest friends. In it, the audience gets a glimpse into my home studio as well as different locations that left marks on my adolescence, as I connect the person I was when I first started making music to the person I have become.”
Upon returning to the States and assailed by odd dreams Alyssa began to piece together next year’s album, Mechanical Sweetness, a new-wave, indie rock homecoming. All on her own, natch – that’s writing, playing, recording and production.
“It’s what I’m used to, and that actually is what taught me to be really vulnerable,” she says; “not like the other way around. I don’t seek out solitude because I want to be vulnerable. I’m used to solitude, so that allows me to be vulnerable.”
Need to hear more by her? Sure you do. Well it was only a matter of days ago, actually, that she dropped the video for the album’s title track – and what a gem that is, we must note, combining a gentle Americana caress with a lineage of more classically girl group melodic yearning that you might not have actually swooned quite so hard for since I Am Shelby Lynne, The Go-Gos or the like. Again, it has that uncanny quality of sounding like it has to already be a song you’ve adored for years.
Alyssa Gengos’ Mechanical Sweetness will be released by Egghunt Records digitally, on trad black vinyl and on a hugely limited (100 only) Bandcamp white vinyl pressing on Friday, February 25th, 2022; to order your copy, get y’self over to Egghunt’s Bandcamp page without delay.